Confirmed – Yorkshire March for the NHS in Leeds – 10th July

Leeds KONP latest minutes

We are delighted to have received approval from Leeds City Council to use Victoria Gardens on the Headrow outside Leeds Art gallery as an assembly and rally point for  our Yorkshire March for the NHS on July 10th and to have confirmation from the PCS Samba band that they will  be leading our march in lively style as usual. All arrangements are of course subject to Covid restrictions lifting and we will be urging people to exercise caution regarding close contact.   

Many thanks to Marc Renwick for his fantastic  artwork for the front of our postcard

Rainbow illustration of marchers campaignng for the NHS

Full text of the back of the postcard:

Back of the Postcard jpg with red border, logos and key messages

Latest news – marches, alliances and a National Care Service

Covid infection in West Yorkshire rates, ventilator issues, Campaign for National Care Support and Independent Living Service, Leeds Addiction Service, Yorkshire March for the NHS, Peoples Vaccine Alliance:

Full minutes

Other actions:

This Wednesday 4th May 7pm :  Session 6 of KONP’s excellent Peoples Covid Inquiry which  focuses on inequalities and discrimination. 

More info and Register here

Thursday 13th May  6.30pm  Campaign  for a National Care, Support and Independent  Living Service ( NaCSILS )  supporters meeting to get an update on the campaign  and help develop plans to give it wings !

Join Zoom Meeting    Meeting ID: 853 9862 0729        Passcode: 884472

Sat. July 10th – very much hoping that that our  Yorkshire March for the NHS will  go ahead. Save the date and more info later

We are keen to do what we can to support the international People’s Vaccine Alliance. See meeting notes and PVA’s website


Yorkshire Health Campaigns Together

Full minutes

Next meeting of Yorks HCT will be on Friday 18th June 4-6pm

Next session of KONP’s People’s Inquiry into Covid is on inequalities. Info and registration:

Don’t forget Sat.  July 10th for a live Yorkshire march for the NHS in Leeds subject to relative calm on the Covid front of course. We are trying to clarify an alternative assemble  and rally point as the space outside the Art Gallery may not be available

The international People’s Vaccine Campaign desperately needs support

COVID Quilt project – Kirklees activists and others are already making quilts. They would welcome other areas making their own quilt or making squares that could perhaps be joined up into a West Yorkshire quilt please email Christine for details

International Workers Memorial Day 28th April 11am

Leeds Keep Our NHS Public will be participating in a live, socially distanced event to mark  International Worker’s Memorial Day at  11am next  Wednesday 28th  April by the  workers’ memorial stone in Victoria Gardens, outside Leeds Art Gallery.

This annual event commemorates all those  whose work has cost them their lives and reaffirms our commitment to continue to unite and fight for safety at work. It seems even more important than ever this year after the loss of so many health, care, and other essential workers who were  often unprotected or poorly protected from infection. 

Jane Aitchison, Chair of Leeds TUC will be laying a wreath. We will be taking flowers from KONP too and quite a few of our  Leeds KONP flags and John Puntis will be playing a few tunes, possibly the Last Post and Solidarity for Ever.   

As the Leeds May Day march will be virtual this year,  this event is an important expression of the unity and shared commitment of the trade unions and campaigning groups like ours. 

The NHS – Who Owns it ? John Lister

Summary notes of Leeds KONP meeting “ The NHS Who Owns It ?” with John Lister on 14.4.21
JOHN LISTER made it clear that he was keen to spend less time describing the extent of privatisation in the NHS, which he covers in

and more time talking about how we go about campaigning against privatisation in the current political climate, when we have our backs against the wall. These were some of his key points/messages.

It isn’t enough to campaign against private services on moral grounds; we have to show that privatisation doesn’t work, we have to call it out on quality and coverage. Test and Trace is a good example of vast amounts of money thrown at a highly ineffective service, compounded by wasting more money on management consultants ( some paid over £1,000 per day ! ) to try to rescue it. On a positive note the Imperial Health Care Trust, which brought 1,000 outsourced cleaners back in house on a temporary basis one year ago are planning to make the arrangement permanent as it is working well.
Meanwhile 40% of NHS cleaning services remain contracted out. John suggested that “outsourced” is a euphemism for bringing in an alien provider which undermines the integrity of the NHS, fragmenting not integrating services, creating instability, poorer staff conditions and lower quality of service.

It can be counter- productive as campaigners to define ourselves as trying to hold back the tide of an imminent takeover of the NHS by US private firms as it isn’t true ( in John’s opinion). He suggested that the US firms are after easy juicy contracts not wholesale takeover and imposition of an insurance based model. The NHS’s spend on health care is only a quarter to a third of the US spend so it is not that enticing for profit hungry companies, the firms that have taken on running large health care facilities like Circle rapidly found it wasn’t viable and private hospitals have on average just 50 beds. Similarly John suggested that Centene (Operose’s) takeover of 37practices ( 48 surgeries) in London is not part of a wholesale takeover of primary care. They comprise just 1% of practices, most of which do all their work for the NHS, not for profit. This doesn’t mean the fight against Centene isn’t important. On the contrary it means that Operose’s move is against the main grain and therefore more winnable if we put the work in.

Opposition is already gaining support from local Tory councillors as well as Labour.
persistently giving the message that the NHS is doomed and will collapse in the next few years is demotivating. If the battle is already lost what is the point in fighting?

It is too simple to say the Tories just want to privatise the health service. They don’t care about patients but don’t have a coherent position and know that openly trying to privatise the whole of the NHS, even if feasible, would be political suicide as the NHS remains very popular, particularly with older people where their vote is concentrated. They just want they and their friends to be able to continue to make money out of health. The contracts handed out to Tory cronies under cover of Covid, without transparency have given us some useful ammunition for exposing the underlying corruption including the revolving doors and intricate webs between the NHS, Government, private firms and lobbyists. Their enthusiasm for giving away data and promoting digital health care and a multitude of apps is also about generating profits for private companies.

We are currently stuck with the Tories who have a very comfortable majority and are benefitting from a vaccine bounce in popularity so there are no great hopes of getting what we want through Parliament. The best we can aim for e.g. in opposing the health White paper and Integrated Care Systems (what John called “Integrated Crony Systems or Services” ) is splitting the Tories by putting pressure on Tory MPs wherever we can, which isn’t something we have tended to focus on. There is genuine concern in some Tory councils about marginalisation of local government in the White Paper as well as over ICS boundary changes.

This means that that battles have to be fought and won issue by issue, locality by locality, doing the hard graft to expose how privatisation doesn’t work and fighting to get services which have been outsourced through Wholly Owned Subsidiaries or other means brought back into the NHS, particularly as contracts come up for renewal. We have had successes over PFI as well as cleaning and there is much to be done and won over social care, which John suggested has been the biggest chunk of privatisation of the NHS.

It happened in the 1990s following the Griffiths report, when hospital beds were closed and people sent into nursing homes. More recently the bulk of domiciliary care has been privatised too but again there have been some small local steps to end charging and bring some resources back into LA control. John also mentioned that mental health and community services are very reliant on private services. 44% of funding for child and adolescent mental health care goes to private companies, 30% of mental health hospitals are privately run. ( I don’t think we talked about the fact that campaigning against out of area placements pushed the issue up the agenda and forced some improvements and a combination of scandals and campaigning by disabled people’s organisations has had some impact on the institutionalisation of people with mental health and learning difficulties. )

We need to press local Integrated Care Systems on transparency (meetings and papers must be open to the public; they must be subject to the Freedom of Information Act) and on local accountability, as these issues resonate with local councillors and local people and transparency ensures that issues see the light of day and can be openly challenged. We need to expose the heavy reliance of ICS on major management consultancy firms like Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and McKinsey, who are designing and delivering “transformation” including workforce, digital ‘solutions’, data management etc., bringing significant influence of the “for profit” sector into health (of 83 companies approved by the Govt to assist with ICS, 76 of these are private and a number of giants are US based). John was sceptical about ICS members managing a single pot of funding without disagreement and getting into deficit. In some areas relations between partners are already fractious. We need to keep chipping away at ICS and smoke them out! He noted that there have always been swings in policy and practice. Push back can gather support and be effective.

To build public opposition to the erosion of the NHS we need to make issues understandable and tangible to people. There are a number of campaigns around the loss of resources and quality of maternity service which hit home with a wide range of people whom we haven’t always reached with our campaigning, including younger people. Reduction in personal access to GPs and high dependence on virtual/digital communication is another issue that concerns people and excludes many.

We have to look at what DRIVES privatisation and challenge these underlying issues

Long waiting lists result in the NHS giving more money to private hospitals and some people deciding to “go private” because they can’t wait any longer (JP noted a third of elective hip surgery is done in the private sector – paid for by the NHS). However we need to make clear that if patients have any complications they will be rapidly transferred into NHS beds because the private hospitals don’t have the facilities to deal with emergency, complex or critical care. The private sector relies on cherry picking straightforward, generally well patients – and on NHS trained staff!

Chronic shortage of hospital beds and equipment. John noted that at the start of the pandemic the NHS had significantly lower bed numbers than most EU countries but at end of last year had 14,000 fewer front line beds than 12 months previously because of Covid demands and restrictions. Now £10bn of public money is going to be channelled into private hospitals to tackle the waiting lists.

Long term underfunding of hospital maintenance, which has eroded the fabric of our hospitals and created health and safety issues. The £6bn shortfall pre Covid is now nearer £ 9bn. Recently people had to be moved out of wards in Kings Lynn because they were unsafe. The promised money for 40 new hospitals boiled down to some funding for six building projects which may or may not see the light of day ( including incidentally a new Children’s Hospital building on LGI site in Leeds which was already planned and appears to be going ahead ) plus just £5m seed funding for each of 34 areas, to explore the possibility of new build.

Staff shortages, which were dire before the pandemic with over 80,000 vacancies are now compounded by having 40,000 staff off sick, the potential impact of long Covid, burn out and stress, as well as the impact of Brexit and tightened immigration rules which not only cut off recruitment but have resulted in many experienced staff leaving the UK. Since Hunt promised 5,000 new GPs there has been a net reduction in GPs! A promised new 6,000 mental health professionals haven’t appeared either.

Public Meeting with John Lister 14th April – NHS Who owns it?

We’re delighted that John Lister has agreed to join Leeds KONP’s meeting on Wednesday 14th April 6.30-8pm to talk about privatisation of the NHS and what we can do about it and hope you can come along and encourage others to join us.    

As many of you will know John has been writing, lecturing and campaigning for the NHS for well over 30 years and is a founder member of Keep Our NHS  Public and Health Campaigns Together.  He  has an amazing amount of info about what is going on around the country, indeed internationally and has talked to packed meetings in Leeds on several occasions  

Join us next week ! Contact us for Zoom link

Leeds KONP latest news

Full minutes: 17th March 2021

Next meeting: 31st March; 18.30pm, contact us for Zoom details


  • Operose ( subsidiary of US Centene ) has taken over 37 GP surgeries in London which were being run by a GP consortium – “AT medics”. Campaigners have been exploring the possibility of challenging the CCGs over the legality of them approving the takeover. Operose also have about 20 other practices in England, 2 here in East Leeds. It is confusing to say all GPs are private. They are independent contractors but most see themselves as part of the NHS and are on GMS or PMS contracts so can’t buy and sell their practice. A minority of GP practices are on APMS (Alternative Provider Medical Services ) contracts which were introduced in 2014. They allow practices to be bought and sold and work contracted out.
  • John responded to a spread in the paper from Rob Webster , chief of the West Leeds ICS , in his letter in the YEP today, which challenged the argument that the re-organisation is about partnership not privatisation. Yesterday G & J attended a meeting with some ICS leaders/ organisers initiated by Jenny Shepherd to discuss public engagement and the Board’s responses to questions from the public.
  • Discussed organising a public meeting , maybe focusing on how privatisation is eating into the NHS despite all the publicity saying it is on the way out ! Everyone felt we could make a larger Zoom meeting work although maybe best to use webinar mode/ facility .
  • Leeds TUC environment change group are having another planning meeting re what we can do in Yorkshire in the build up to COP 26 ( Oct) to raise awareness of the need to stop damaging the environment and halting disastrous climate change. Leeds People Before profit group ( linked to Leeds TUC) are holding a public meeting Defend the Right to Protest on Monday 29th March 6pm.

Yorkshire Health Campaigns Together

Latest minutes

  1. RCN reacted quickly to the 1% offer by talking about building up a strike fund. In Leeds a couple of people took a placard and banner to St. James and posted pics. The Labour Party are saying the staff should get the promised 2% but this is only £7 a week for many. Lots of workers are losing out on pay rises but to hold back on supporting NHS staff is to join a race to the bottom. 97,000 nurses have moved out of their nursing jobs in the last 10 years and a large proportion of the workforce is over 55, so coming up to retirement.
  2. Vocare started off in Scarborough, where some staff were tuped over, and is now embedded in York as well, providing GP out of hours service and a minor injuries clinic. They started off small and GP owned but have been bought out by Totally Ltd – see Jenny Shepherd’s blog
  3. Calderdale Scrutiny Board is challenging whether there will be sufficient support in place within the community to justify/enable the planned reduction in hospital beds by 155 and reduction from two to one intensive care units.
  4. In Craven half of the GP practices are run by Modality and Grassington surgery has been run down and amalgamated with a practice in Ilkley. People are also being sent to Skipton and other towns for Covid vaccinations and the notion of a local GP service is fast disappearing
  5. Leeds Hospital Alert have been taking the lead campaigning against the panned closures of 2 Local Authority homes one of which provides invaluable respite care. Meanwhile Villa Care continue to run 5 transit wards in Leeds and Wharfedale Hospitals – insourcing privatisation again !

Full minutes:

You can register for  some or all of the fortnightly wed evening sessions of  KONP’s People’s Inquiry Into Covid at :

We are pencilled in for a Yorkshire demonstration for the NHS in Leeds on Saturday 10th July

If you haven’t visited Leeds KONP In the Dark exhibition yet, you can visit directly by clicking: